Publication
Title
Push and bite: trade-offs between burrowing and biting in a burrowing skink (**Acontias percivali**)
Author
Abstract
Trade-offs are thought to be important in constraining evolutionary divergence, as they may limit phenotypic diversification. Limbless animals that burrow head-first have been suggested to be evolutionarily constrained in the development of a large head size and sexual head shape dimorphism because of potential trade-offs associated with burrowing. Here we use an acontiine skink (Acontias percivali) to test for the existence of trade-offs between traits thought to be important in burrowing (speed and force). As head size dimorphism has been shown to be limited in acontiine lizards, thus suggesting constraints on head size and shape, we additionally explore the potential for trade-offs between burrowing and biting. Our data show that A. percivali uses a burrowing style different from those previously described for caecilians and amphisbaenians, which relies on the use of extensive lateral and dorsoventral head movements. Our data also show that animals use their entire bodies to generate force, as peak force was determined by total length only. Additionally, both bite force and the time needed to burrow into the substrate were principally determined by relative head width, suggesting a trade-off between biting and burrow speed. Performance data were indeed suggestive of a correlation between bite force and the time needed to burrow, but additional data are needed to confirm this pattern. In summary, our data suggests that trade-offs may exist, and may have been of crucial importance in shaping the evolution of head shape in A. percivali, and burrowing lizards more generally.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Biological journal of the Linnean Society. - London
Publication
London : 2011
ISSN
0024-4066
Volume/pages
102:1(2011), p. 91-99
ISI
000285305000009
Full text (Publishers DOI)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identification
Creation 22.12.2010
Last edited 23.05.2017
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